22 Mar 2010

Ten rules for writing fiction

  1. Colm Tóibín: Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Hilary Mantel: Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.
  3. Margaret Atwood: Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
  4. Zadie Smith: Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
  5. Joyce Carol Oates: Don't try to anticipate an "ideal reader" – there may be one, but he/she is reading someone else.
  6. Sarah Waters: Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Writing fiction is not "self­expression" or "therapy". Novels are for readers, and writing them means the crafty, patient, selfless construction of effects.
  7. Will Self: Live life and write about life. there are more than enough books about books. (...) Always carry a notebook. Short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.
  8. AL Kennedy: Defend others. You can, of course, steal stories and attributes from family and friends, fill in filecards after lovemaking and so forth. It might be better to celebrate those you love – and love itself – by writing in such a way that everyone keeps their privacy and dignity intact.
  9. Andrew Motion: Honour the miraculousness of the ordinary.
  10. Anne Enright: Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.
*Estas son as miñas favoritas da manchea de regras que publicou co Guardian (1 e 2) hai unhas semanas. Outros, teñen outras favoritas.


  1. Xenial! Non sabía destas regras, pero penso gardalas xa! Grazas!

  2. Un pracer. Xa dirás cales son as túas favoritas :-)